Sunday, January 13, 2013

{Online Bible Journey} Why God Loves Me - Week One

My take on the first week - Here are the scriptures and I put my thoughts after each passage.  At the end I give an overall summary.  See if that is how I do it again next week.  :)

Why God Loves Me

Genesis 1:26-27
"Then God said, "Let us make human beings in our image to be like us.  They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth and the small animals that scurry along the ground."  So God created human beings in his own image.  In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them."

We were created to be like God.  He created in HIS image "to be like us".  God loves us because he wanted us to be just like him.  He loves me because he created me.

Think about how much we love our children.  We 'created' them - we want to give them the world!  While that baby is brewing are we thinking - I want him to have your nose.  I want her to have your smile.  It was always a joke in our house that Hubs wanted them to have my brains and his looks.  We want the humans we 'create' to be just like us.  How does it make you feel when someone you don't know, or haven't seen in a long time see your child and says, "They are so cute!" It makes you feel good, you have cute kids.  But it makes you feel even better when that is followed up with, "You look just like your mommy."

Isn't that how God feels about us?  He created us in HIS image, to be just like HIM.  That is love.  So, why does God love me?  Because He created me.

Deuteronomy 7:6-10
"For you are a holy people, who belong to the Lord your God.  Of all the people on earth, the Lord your God has chosen you to be his own special treasure.  The Lord did not set his heart on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other nations, for you were the smallest of all the nations!  Rather, it was simply that the Lord loves you, and he was keeping the oath he had sworn to your ancestors.  That is why the Lord rescued you with such a strong hand from your slavery and from the oppressive hand of Pharaoh, king of Egypt.  Understand, therefore, that the Lord your God is indeed God.  He is the faithful God who keeps his covenant for a thousand generations and lavishes his unfailing love on those who love him and obey his commands.  But he does not hesitate to punish and destroy those who reject him."

The first phrase that stuck out to me is "God has chosen you to be his own special treasure."  It is pretty obvious why God loves me - He choose me.

I am going to be honest, though, I have always had troubles with scripture like this.  I think my problem is that I am a contextual reader sometimes.  I read that and I think to myself - God is talking to the Jews who he brought out of captivity.  I am not one of those Jews.  How can this also mean that he choose me?  I wasn't there.  I didn't go through those trials.  The stuff that I go through is so, so different.  I am not and was not in slavery.  How could this passage also mean me?  I guess that is where my biggest struggle is, how does what I read in the bible really apply to me?  

The next one that sticks out is, "It was simply that the Lord loves you."  Again it is pretty obvious here, in fact it straight out says it - the Lord loves you.  Can't read too much into that one.

The last one is, "[He] lavishes his unfailing love on those who love him and obey his commands."  As long as we also love God he will lavish his unfailing love on us - oh, if we obey his commands.

That is another part that I have always struggled with - is God one we need to perform for - do what he wants and we are loved - this seems like his love is conditional, or is he a God that just loves us, regardless of what we do?  Is that the difference between the old testament and the new testament, the old covenant and the new?  Again, a big question I just don’t understand.

Psalms 36:5-10 
Your unfailing love, o Lord is at vast as the heavens; your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the ocean depths. You are for people and animals alike, o Lord. How precious is your unfailing love, o God. All humanity finds shelter in the shadow of your wings. You feed them from the abundance of your own house, letting them drink from your river of delights.  For you are the fountain of life, the light by which we see.  Pour out your unfailing love on those who love you; give justice to those with honest hearts.

The God described here is one that loves us, as long as we love him.  Here it doesn't seem like we have to do anything to earn that love.  That love is vast!  That love shows up in many ways.  That love shows up in his faithfulness, in his righteousness, in his justice; that love shows up in abundance.

Think about who it is when we love someone.  We do things because we love that person.  We are faithful to our spouse because we love him/her.  We try to be fair to our children because we love them.  We try to do what is right because we don’t want to hurt those with we love.

Why Does God Love Me?  God loves me because God pours out his love on those who love him with honest hearts.  I consider myself to be honest and I love God; therefore, God loves me.

Psalms 48: 9-10
O God, we meditate on your unfailing love as we worship in your Temple. As your name deserves, o God, you will be praised to the ends of the earth.  Your strong right hand is filled with victory.

Praise and worship are one way that we show God we love him.  It tells us here, and it is true, God does deserve to be worshiped and praised.  Do you feel closer to God when you are worshiping and singing his praises?  I sure do.  Those first 20 minutes of our church service is when I feel most connected to God.  Signing his praises, my voice lifted up in worship.

Psalms 52:8-9
But I am like an olive tree, thriving in the house of God I will always trust in God's unfailing love.  I will praise you forever, o God, for what you have done. I will trust in in your good name in the presence of your faithful people.

I know that if I trust someone I am extending a certain amount of love toward that person.  God has done so much for us that He deserves our trust and our praise.  By trusting and praising God we are showing him we love him.  He loves those who love him.  He lavishes his unfailing love on those who love him.

Psalms 86: 11-17
Teach me your ways o Lord, that I may live according to your truth!  Grant me purity of heart, so that I may honor you.  With all my heart I will praise you, o Lord my God.  I will give glory to your name forever, for your love for me is very great.  You have rescued me from the depths of death.  O God, insolent people rise up against me; a violent gang is trying to kill me.  You mean nothing to them.  But you, o Lord, are a God of compassion and mercy, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness.  Look down and have mercy on me.  Give your strength to your servant; save me, the son of your servant.  Send me a sing of your favor.  Then those who hate me will be put to shame, for you, o Lord, help and comfort me.

God’s love for me is very great.  Things are going to rise up against me, but God loves me.  No matter what happens God is going to look down on me with compassion and mercy.  He is filled with love and faithfulness.  God has my back.

Psalms 103: 10-12
He does not punish us for our sins; he does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve.  For his unfailing love toward those who fear him is great as the height of the heavens above the earth.

This one brings up another big question for me.  What does it mean when it says “fear him”?  I have never really figured that out.  What does it mean to have a fear of God?  I don’t fear those I love.

So overall what do the scriptures from this week teach us?

I think the big theme that sticks out to me is that God’s love is unfailing.  We are going to fail and we are going to disappoint God - we are humans, that is how we roll.  We are not and were not the perfect sacrifice.  Thank God Jesus took our place.  But even though we fail, His love doesn't 

I remember I was part of a small group several years back and one of the members was talking about how she couldn't understand how God could love her sister after all the bad things she has done.  I remember saying to her that since God is “our Father” he loves as sons and daughters.  So think of it this way - if my parents knew all the things I did in college they would be really disappointed, but they wouldn't stop loving me.  God is probably really disappointed with all the bad things your sister has done, but he will never stop loving her.

So why is it that I can accept that for others, but I can’t accept that for myself?  God loves me because he created me.  He loves me because I am a chosen special treasure.  God’s love for me is unfailing and unconditional.  I just need to accept it.

That is week one.  I can’t wait to read your thoughts and insights.  You can link your post below or just leave comments.  We can also interact over on Facebook.

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